Zander Aloi Published

Growing up Arab American in West Virginia with Sharif Youssef


This week Scott, Laurie, and Rick are joined by guest Sharif Youssef. Youssef is the child of an Egyptian immigrant who grew up in the town of West Liberty, West Virginia, who now works as a producer on the popular podcast “99% Invisible” in the San Francisco Bay area.

Youssef’s recent Facebook post on the election of Donald Trump has gained popularity and been shared across the internet. In it, he describes the discrimination he faced both as a person of Middle Eastern descent growing up in Appalachia and as an Appalachian in more liberal and often more elite Ivy League and coastal communities. The post attempts to explain to Trump’s opponents why areas like West Virginia voted for him, and to his supporters why his election has so many people afraid of what comes next.

His post can be found at

Content Warning: Both the post and the podcast contain language some audiences my find objectionable

“The Front Porch” is a place where we tackle the tough issues facing West Virginia and Appalachia with some of the region’s most interesting thinkers.

WVPB Executive Director Scott Finn serves as host and provocateur, joined by Laurie Lin, a conservative lawyer and columnist, and Rick Wilson, a liberal columnist and avid goat herder who works for the American Friends Service Committee .

Subscribe to “The Front Porch” podcast on iTunes or however you listen to podcasts.

An edited version of “The Front Porch” airs Fridays at 4:50 p.m. on West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s radio network, and the full version is available above.

Share your opinions with us about these issues, and let us know what you’d like us to discuss in the future. Send a tweet to @radiofinn or @wvpublicnews, or e-mail Scott at sfinn @

The Front Porch is underwritten by The Charleston Gazette Mail, providing both sides of the story on its two editorial pages. Check it out: